Many of you know me personally, but for any of you who don’t, I thought I’d share some random tidbits about me so you’ll know what you are dealing with. LOL
I’m 44. I grew up in a small town in southern Indiana, and I still visit there at least once a year to see all of my family. I went to Indiana University for my undergrad degree in biology, with minors in english and anthropology. I always really enjoyed writing, and while i did have a handful of things published in medical journals during my years in medicine, my change in career has left me a lot more opportunity to write, which is fun. My Mom was a high school english teacher, though, and so I am always slightly worried about whether my grammar is correct in my writings (jk Mom, I think I get it right most of the time thanks to your tutelage). I went to IU also for medical school, and then left Indiana for residency and fellowship in Tucson, Arizona, where I met and fell in love with my best friend, Robert. And since 2015, we have called sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico our home. We absolutely love living here, near the ocean, in a glorious, relaxed, and vibrant community that has been truly healing and nourishing for me.
It sounds corny, but my husband really is my best friend. I was married before, so I know how dramatically different things can be with the right (vs wrong) person by your side, and I am beyond grateful to have Robert. He has been there through work stress, cancer, an international move, as well as through so many amazing memories, both little and big. He makes everything in life easier and more fun, and helps me stay grounded and true to myself.
I never had kids of my own, but am lucky to have 7 beautiful nieces and nephews, and I love to visit them and also to have them visit me here in Mexico! And when I married my husband, I was blessed with 2 amazing step-kids, and now a lovely grandchild and another on the way. Being an aunt and a grandmother is pretty awesome stuff. I’m also really close to my Mom and love going on adventures with her. We went on an incredible trip to India a couple of years ago, and are now plotting our next trip for once covid travel issues are resolved.
I was always a pretty intense person, with a real tendency to overwork, overachieve, overcommit, overexercise, and just generally rush through everything to get to what I thought was the goal. Once I decided what I was going to do, I was on overdrive to get there, and probably missed a lot of scenery along the way. Changing careers, moving to mexico, practicing yoga, and having cancer have all helped me to see the benefits and feel the joy in slowing down, taking my time, enjoying the journey, being less rigid, being able to shift gears and explore different routes, and sometimes not even have a plan. I feel so much lighter, more relaxed, and more adaptable than I did when I was younger.
As you know, I love cats. I have 3, and would have more if I thought they would get along, and my husband wouldn’t kill me. 😉
I don’t have any tattoos, but am thinking seriously about getting a lotus flower on my back, as a symbol of the growth and transformation that can result from life’s challenges if we just allow it to happen. I think I’ve written at least one blog about the lotus flower and its symbolism. I’ll find it and link it here. https://yogawithleona.com/2018/12/30/may-i-live-like-the-lotus-at-ease-in-muddy-water/
I love reading books on yoga philosophy, Buddhism, Hinduism, and spirituality in general. My favorite authors are Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Jack Kornfield, and Pema Chodron, at the moment.
I am pretty proud of building this website myself. I didn’t know anything about websites, and while WordPress makes it as easy as it could be, there was still a ton to learn! The crazy covid year actually served as a real catalyst to get me to finally put in the work to get it done, since I was no longer busy teaching and taking yoga classes in person and had more time on my hands. It has been a fun and different challenge, learning new skills and overcoming obstacles.
I’d like to get better at gardening and cooking. Having cancer made me take my diet a lot more seriously, and recognize that it really is important what you put into your body. Duh, right? I used to drink a coke for breakfast every day at the office. OMG, how could I expect to be healthy?! I’m still not really rigid about it, but try to eat a lot more vegetables, healthy proteins, and minimize processed foods and refined carbs/sugars. I do like margaritas! 😉
But as you all know, yoga is really my passion. I continue to be amazed and inspired by the benefits I feel in my body and my mind. I’m a total yoga science dork, and if you aren’t careful you can get stuck hearing about the latest scientific study I’ve read about the benefits or the mechanisms behind those benefits. My poor husband, LOL. I’ve been practicing for about 10 years, though for the first 4-5 years, I was lucky if I was able to find the time for practice 3 times a week. I currently practice usually 6 days a week, and teach 4 days a week either on Facetime or in person in addition. But don’t feel like you have to practice that much to get the benefits. Any little bit is worth it, so just do whatever feels right to you. I truly love sharing yoga with others, and am overjoyed when I can see someone else begin to feel better because of this simple practice.
All right, that may have been more than you ever wanted to know about me. But I hope it helps you get to know me a little better. Please let me know if you have any requests or feedback about the site, or if I can answer any questions you might have about yoga in cancer recovery.